Friday, January 31, 2014

Cute But Armed...!

Nature has some fairly unique ways of helping critters defend themselves. This cutie is one of those cases!

Despite the cute name, this little rascal is pretty smart when it comes to self defense. Not something I would want to tangle with!

The Teddy Bear Crab Makes Living Weapons

The teddy bear crab is a small crustacean covered in bushy, white bristles. While a furry crab is curious enough, the species Polydectus cupulifer also has an unusual behavior. It picks up stinging anemones, one in each claw, and wields them as weapons. The crab doesn’t just stand there looking like a miniature yeti with red pain-pompoms, though. It can tell which anemones are useful, and turns the anemone around so it can grip it from the right angle. Then, the crab is able to strike with just the right part of its weapon.

The anemone isn’t just something to attack predators with, either—it’s also a food source. The crab will happily collect food from its “companions,” even going so far as to reach inside the anemone’s digestive system to pull out anything the anemone has already eaten.

Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems to me that the crab has this whole Surviving thing down pretty pat! I had never heard of this guy until I ran across him over at Listverse!Thanks to them, I learn something new every day!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Moving to the high 50's already and high 60's later, so seems safe to be outside!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mythical Origin Of Coffee...!

Did you know that nearly all fruit had myths about where they came from? I didn't either!

The story of the origin of coffee sounds almost as though it could be real! At least it sounds feasible to me. However, when it comes to coffee or tall tales, I'm interested. After all, I am from Texas!

Coffee For Evening Prayer

Ethiopian legend credits a boy named Kaldi with the discovery of the coffee berry. Kaldi was a goatherd, and was out watching over his goats one day when he noticed they were eating berries from a tree. After eating the berries, the goats became energized and would refuse to sleep at night. Kaldi took some of the berries to monks at a local monastery.

The monks promptly tried the berries themselves, and suddenly found they had a much easier time staying awake during their evening prayers. The monks shared the knowledge with each other, and soon everyone was partaking in the coffee berries to stay awake in church. From there, coffee spread to the Arabian peninsula, and a single goatherd changed the way we stay awake.

If you want to find out more real history about the spread of the magical coffee bean, you can read this article right here. All I can say is that I'm glad the goat herder was paying attention to his goats that day!

Coffee outside this morning. Hot coffee, hot chocolate, and cinnamon rolls to start the day!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Legal Theft On Western Wednesday...!

Over the years, the government and others of the PTB have tried to find different ways of stealing tribal lands from the American Indian tribes. The Dawson Act was one of those "legal" ways.

Feb 8, 1887:
Cleveland signs the Dawes Severalty Act

In a well-meaning but ultimately flawed attempt to assimilate Native Americans, President Grover Cleveland signs an act to end tribal control of reservations and divide their land into individual holdings.

Named for its chief author, Senator Henry Laurens Dawes from Massachusetts, the Dawes Severalty Act reversed the long-standing American policy of allowing Indian tribes to maintain their traditional practice of communal use and control of their lands. Instead, the Dawes Act gave the president the power to divide Indian reservations into individual, privately owned plots. The act dictated that men with families would receive 160 acres, single adult men were given 80 acres, and boys received 40 acres. Women received no land.

The most important motivation for the Dawes Act was Anglo-American hunger for Indian lands. The act provided that after the government had doled out land allotments to the Indians, the sizeable remainder of the reservation properties would be opened for sale to whites. Consequently, Indians eventually lost 86 million acres of land, or 62 percent of their total pre-1887 holdings.

Still, the Dawes Act was not solely a product of greed. Many religious and humanitarian "friends of the Indian" supported the act as a necessary step toward fully assimilating the Indians into American culture. Reformers believed that Indians would never bridge the chasm between "barbarism and civilization" if they maintained their tribal cohesion and traditional ways. J.D.C. Atkins, commissioner of Indian affairs, argued that the Dawes Act was the first step toward transforming, "Idleness, improvidence, ignorance, and superstition... into industry, thrift, intelligence, and Christianity."

In reality, the Dawes Severalty Act proved a very effective tool for taking lands from Indians and giving it to Anglos, but the promised benefits to the Indians never materialized. Racism, bureaucratic bungling, and inherent weaknesses in the law deprived the Indians of the strengths of tribal ownership, while severely limiting the economic viability of individual ownership. Many tribes also deeply resented and resisted the government's heavy-handed attempt to destroy their traditional cultures.

Despite these flaws, the Dawes Severalty Act remained in force for more than four decades. In 1934, the Wheeler-Howard Act repudiated the policy and attempted to revive the centrality of tribal control and cultural autonomy on the reservations. The Wheeler-Howard Act ended further transfer of Indian lands to Anglos and provided for a return to voluntary communal Indian ownership, but considerable damage had already been done.

Seems to me that this is just another case of the age old saying "I'm from the government. I'm here to help you!" Know what I mean? Any one in their right mind would cringe now days after hearing those words! I know I would, for sure! At some point in time, I'm sure that the government had the interest of the American people at heart. At least, some of them did, you would think. It would be nice if we could find our way back to whenever that was!

Coffee inside again today. Care for some more hot buttered gingerbread?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Scary Thoughts About Food In The Future...!

This is not a subject that many of care to think about, much less discuss. However, now is the time that we should really put some thought into the subject!

Let's face it-the population of this old world is growing by leaps and bounds, and the ability to produce a more abundant food supply is NOT keeping pace with that! Seems to me that sooner or later, there's gonna be a problem.

The Future Of Food

The Meat Crisis refers to the way our global love of a good, juicy steak may yet doom the entire planet. From advanced Western nations to their developing counterparts, meat consumption is on the rise; from an average 20kg per person in 1990, to a predicted 50kg by 2030. Since roughly a third of the usable land on our planet is already put aside for raising livestock, that’s a heck of a lot of meat. Unless we want to exacerbate our entire resources battle, we’re gonna have to start looking for alternatives—and that’s where the controversy comes in.

A lot of us live in cultures which really, really don’t like the state tampering with our food choices. When NYC attempted to restrict the sale of large sodas last year, the backlash threatened to engulf the entire visible universe. The idea of GM foods and fluoride in water still sends people into a lather of anger. So what do you think will happen when governments start pushing artificial meat on us? Prediction: People will respond in the exact same way they do whenever anyone tries to push anything on them—with plenty of outrage.

Does anyone besides me see a possibility of a "Soylent Green" scenario developing here? I know it sounds far fetched, but is it really? I mean, how are we really planning to feed all those future generations with the resources we have now? I hope someone has a workable plan in the works, don't you?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Let's have some old fashioned cinnamon toast!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sidney Gottlieb On Monday Mystery...!

Sometimes the truth is much stranger than fiction, as you all know. How much stranger you may not know, though.

The PTB here in the states have often used some very mysterious people to help them along in what ever projects they had going at the time. This article from Listverse is about one of those mysterious fellows!

Sidney Gottlieb

In 1918, Sidney Gottlieb was born in New York under the name of Joseph Scheider. He received a PhD in chemistry from Caltech and became an expert on lethal poisons. In 1951, Gottlieb joined the CIA and was given a job on the top secret biological warfare program MKULTRA. Project MKULTRA was a now-infamous series of experiments used to study human mind control and modification. During the project, Gottlieb organized experiments in which humans were used as guinea pigs. For this reason, he was given the nicknames “Black Sorcerer” and “Dirty Trickster.”

Gottlieb helped organize Operation Midnight Climax, which was a program where the CIA purchased houses in San Francisco, Marin, and New York in order to watch people. For the project, the CIA hired a large group of prostitutes that lured subjects back to a house, drugged them, and then had sex while Gottlieb and others observed from behind two-way mirrors. The experiments gave results in sexual blackmail, surveillance, and mind-altering drugs. Gottlieb was also involved with the Cuban Project, in which he developed ideas to poison Fidel Castro.

During his career, Gottlieb worked for Lockheed, DARPA, the Department of Defense, and the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence. In one incident, he attempted to contaminate Iraq’s General Abdul Karim Qassim’s handkerchief with botulinum. He was also involved with the Phoenix Program, in which the U.S. performed mind control experiments on the Vietcong during the Vietnam War. In 1960, he played a role in America’s attempt to kill the Prime Minister of the Congo, Patrice Lumumba. On November 28, 1953, biological warfare specialist Frank Olson died under mysterious circumstances while working under Sidney Gottlieb.

Doesn't it seem just a bit strange that we would find it necessary to have someone like this on the payroll? I have to ask myself how many more of these strange types are on the payroll now days and exactly what are they up to? Maybe I really don't want to know!

Coffee inside this morning. I'm thinking some biscuits and gravy would hit the spot!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunny Sunday 'Toons...!

It's supposed to be sunny here today, so I figured we would get an early start.

I'm ready for Spring to get here, as I'm sure many of you are! Seems like the cold weather just keeps hanging around, ya know? Maybe today's 'toons will help fight the Winter Blues!

Sometimes I don't think that Goofy gets enough respect. Maybe that's why I like him!

Gotta admit, I've felt almost like that before. Not quite that bad, but close!

Wonder how many folks still use the old cloth diapers now days? Probably not very many, since it's so much easier to just use the disposable. Seems like a waste of money somehow, doesn't it?

Coffee out on the patio this morning, Sunshine and very little wind, so it should be nice!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Picture Of WHAT...?

The guys at NASA are always taking really cool pictures of stuff in space! Sometimes they even share them with us.

Now, I don't know what your religious beliefs are, but I think that anyone seeing this through a telescope or in a photo from a research craft would certainly do a "double take!" I would, that's for sure!

'Hand of God' seen in space

This striking hand-shaped formation in space, dubbed the "hand of God," was released by Nasa scientists. Located more than 17,000 light years away from Earth, the unusual formation of space matter was created when a cloud of gas and material was ejected from a star that exploded.

I found this photo over here. Plenty more can be found over at NASA's photo page. Just Google it and see.

Strange and wonderful things out there, if we take the time to look!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Good day to bake some gingerbread!

Friday, January 24, 2014

A Good Use Of Tobacco...!

Being a smoker has a lot of drawbacks, but I finally found a good use for the dreaded tobacco leaf!

Unfortunately, I think this particular use is only good for caterpillars! Still, it's nice to find that some good can come from something that is frowned on by the majority of the human race! Too bad I can't figure out how to make this work for me against mosquitoes!

The Caterpillar With Weaponized Bad Breath
By Nolan Moore on Thursday, January 23, 2014

You might smoke four packs a day, but your nicotine tolerance pales in comparison to the hornworm caterpillar’s. This guy spends his days eating tobacco leaves, but it’s not because he likes the taste. Thanks to a special gene, the hornworm caterpillar uses the nicotine in tobacco plants to ward off hungry spiders. They actually smell so badly that spiders detect them as toxic and potentially harmful.

Around the world, cigarettes and tobacco-related products are covered in dire health warnings. Some are pretty straightforward like, “Cigarettes can cause cancer.” Others are a little gorier, displaying horrifying pictures of tracheotomies and rotting teeth. But if the hornworm caterpillar could read, he’d just shake his head and laugh. These little larvae can handle more nicotine than Don Draper and the Cigarette Smoking Man combined. In fact, the hornworm caterpillar has a nicotine tolerance that’s 750 times greater than any measly human’s, and that comes in handy when he’s attacked by eight-legged predators.

Wolf spiders love munching on juicy little caterpillars, but the hornworm is more of a challenge than most insects thanks to its unique diet and genetic makeup. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Chemical Ecology in Germany discovered these little guys occasionally chow down on tobacco plants. It’s not that they’re particularly fond of the taste, and in fact, detoxifying all that nicotine takes a really long time and really slows the caterpillar down. But as researchers found out, the hornworm has an amazing way of turning the poison into a toxic weapon, a kind of “defense halitosis.”

Hornworms use a sci-fi sounding gene called “CYP6B46″ to mix the nicotine with the caterpillar’s hemolymph (essentially insect blood). When the wolf spider shows up looking for a snack, the caterpillar excretes its hemolymph through little holes known as spiracles. The spider gets a whiff of all that nicotine and decides the hornworm is way too toxic to eat. The eight-eyed arachnid takes off, and the hornworm lives to see another day. Talk about smoker’s breath.

I just realized that I don't care much for the hornworm, anymore than I do for spiders! Maybe I should just do away with both of them every chance I get!

Thanks to the folks at KnowledgeNuts for compiling this information for us! Good stuff!

Better have our coffee in the kitchen this morning. In the 30's out on the patio this morning!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Western Thursday...!

Normally we have western Wednesday, but i forgot! That's the reason we are doing western today!

Sometimes I run across a name I'm unfamiliar with while doing some research. Thanks to, I found this gentleman. Interesting guy!

Jan 29, 1927:
Edward Abbey is born

Uncompromising environmentalist and author Edward Abbey is born in Home, Pennsylvania.

A self-proclaimed "enemy of the modern military-industrial state," which he believed was destroying the natural world and human freedom, Abbey's passionate dedication to protecting and preserving wilderness lands began in 1944, when he first visited the American Southwest as a 17-year-old hitchhiker. Enraptured by the beauty and untouched wilderness of the deserts and canyons, the young Abbey believed he had found his true homeland, and for the rest of his life, he never strayed far from the Southwest.

In 1951, Abbey graduated from the University of New Mexico, where he had edited a student literary magazine; and after several attempts at graduate school, he decided to try to make a career as a writer. Abbey did not initially plan to become a "nature writer," a term he later came to despise. His earlier works, like the 1956 novel The Brave Cowboy, focused more on the modern destruction of the western spirit of independence and self-reliance than the destruction of the land itself. In 1968, though, Abbey put together a collection of essays and diary entries he had written during several summer stints as a ranger at Arches National Monument in Utah and published them as Desert Solitaire. A celebration of the "hard and brutal mysticism" of the Utah desert, Desert Solitaire won Abbey a national following and an enduring reputation as a zealous advocate for wilderness preservation.

Whereas Desert Solitaire offered a philosophical argument of why humans needed to preserve wilderness, Abbey's most influential book, The Monkey Wrench Gang (1975), offered a radical plan for exactly how they might do so. A fictional story of an irreverent band of wilderness advocates battling against the encroaching forces of modernization, the book became something of a blueprint for radical western environmental groups like Earth First! Environmentalists adopted the term "monkey-wrenching" to refer to the non-violent sabotage of development projects that threatened the wilderness. Abbey's book offered advice on how to sabotage heavy earthmoving equipment or road-building projects, and a small but highly visible minority of wilderness proponents actually put his ideas into action.

In 1989, Abbey died of cancer at his home outside of Tucson, Arizona. At the author's request, friends and family buried him in an unmarked grave somewhere in the vast reaches of the Arizona desert.

I reckon that it would be safe to say that Mr. Abbey was a bit of a rebel. This day and age he might even have been labeled as a "domestic terrorist!" That happens to a lot of folks, so I understand.

Coffee outside this morning, although it may get a little chilly later.That's OK, we're tough, right?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Some Notes About Water And Aspirin...!

Baby Sis sent me this information about water and aspirin. Since I had not heard this before, I thought you might find it interesting as well.

See? Not only does the Hermit try and entertain you from time to time, but I might actually put something on here that you can use! Call it a bonus for coming by, OK?

When to Drink Water; Great Info

How many folks do you know who say they don't want to drink anything before going to bed because they'll have to get up during the night!!

Heart Attack and Water

Something else I didn't know ... I asked my Doctor why do people need to urinate so much at night time. Answer from my Cardiac Doctor -
Gravity holds water in the lower part of your body when you are upright (legs swell). When you lie down and the lower body (legs and etc.) seeks level with the kidneys, it is then that the kidneys remove the water because it is easier. This then ties in with the last statement! I knew you need your minimum water to help flush the toxins out of your body, but this was news to me.

Correct time to drink water...
Very Important. From A Cardiac Specialist!

Drinking water at a certain time maximizes its effectiveness on the body: 2 glasses of water after waking up - helps activate internal organs
1 glass of water 30 minutes before a meal - helps digestion
1 glass of water before taking a bath - helps lower blood pressure
1 glass of water before going to bed - avoids stroke or heart attack
I can also add to this... My Physician told me that water at bed time will also help prevent night time leg cramps. Your leg muscles are seeking hydration when they cramp and wake you up with a Charlie Horse.

Subject: Mayo Clinic on Aspirin

Mayo Clinic Aspirin Dr. Virend Somers, is a Cardiologist from the Mayo Clinic, who is lead author of the report in the July 29, 2008 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Most heart attacks occur in the day, generally between 6 A.M. and noon. Having one during the night, when the heart should be most at rest, means that something unusual happened. Somers and his colleagues have been working for a decade to show that sleep apnea is to blame.

1. If you take an aspirin or a baby aspirin once a day, take it at night. The reason: Aspirin has a 24-hour "half-life"; therefore, if most heart attacks happen in the wee hours of the morning, the Aspirin would be strongest in your system.

2. FYI, Aspirin lasts a really long time in your medicine chest for years, (when it gets old, it smells like vinegar).

Bayer has made a crystal aspirin to dissolve instantly on the tongue. They work much faster than the tablets.

Why keep Aspirin by your bedside? It's about Heart Attacks -

There are other symptoms of a heart attack, besides the pain on the left arm. One must also be aware of an intense pain on the chin, as well as nausea and lots of sweating; however, these symptoms may also occur less frequently.

Note: There may be NO pain in the chest during a heart attack.

The majority of people (about 60%) who had a heart attack during their sleep did not wake up. However, if it occurs, the chest pain may wake you up from your deep sleep. If that happens, immediately dissolve two aspirins in your mouth and swallow them with a bit of water.

Afterwards: - Call 911. - Phone a neighbor or a family member who lives very close by. Say "heart attack!" Say that you have taken 2 Aspirins.

Take a seat on a chair or sofa near the front door, and wait for their arrival and ..DO NOT LIE DOWN!

Well, I hope you found this information as interesting as I did. Never can have too much information, I reckon!

Coffee inside again today. Some more cold weather is coming right at us, so we'll break out the miniature cinnamon rolls!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Can You Spell "Help" In Morse Code...?

Seems like a silly question, doesn't it? After all, nearly everyone knows Morse code, right?

Surprisingly, I found out today that the most famous of all disaster signals, the simple S.O.S. doesn't mean what I thought. Funny how some of the truth gets hidden within the many myths out there! This article from KnowdgeNuts really took me off guard, though. I hate it when that happens!

‘SOS’ Doesn’t Stand For Anything
By Jeff Kelly on Monday, January 20, 2014

People rarely have the need to use Morse code these days, but even plenty of novices know SOS. It’s the easiest code to remember since it’s a simple three dots, three dashes, and three more dots. Most people believe that, because it was often used on the seas, it stands for “save our ship” or “save our souls.” However, it turns out that SOS doesn’t actually stand for anything at all, and is used simply because of how easy it is to remember.

Samuel Morse is the inventor of Morse code, which you probably already knew. This code, in which ships, planes [om really anyone at all could use to communicate via a moderately complex series of dots and dashes.

The most famous code in Morse’s system is SOS, which consists of three dots, three dashes, and then three more dots. It’s the universal distress call, and given that it has been so frequently used in the world of boating, people have generally always just assumed it stands for “save our ship” or “save our souls.” As it turns out, however, that’s not at all what it means. In fact, “SOS” doesn’t have any meaning at all.

So why is SOS used for distress calls, when Morse code is so prevalent in sailing and among ships? Because of its incredible simplicity. Think about it for a second, and it makes a lot of sense. The pattern is extremely easy to remember, right? And that’s exactly why it has become that universal distress call.

It actually wasn’t always used as the international Morse code distress call. Before SOS came along, people used the code for CQD. That first started in 1904, when Guglielmo Marconi adapted the general British call of CQ and added the D on there to stand for distress. And in the same way people have misconceptions about SOS, people have mistakenly concluded that CQD stood for “come quick danger.” Since CQ was the code for general calls, that would have been literally interpreted as “all stations” with the D being added for “distress.”

It was in 1906 that the change was made from CQD, with the thinking that SOS offered such an easy and unmistakable pattern that it would be the most beneficial for someone using Morse code who found himself in trouble. It was officially made the new universal distress call in 1908, but it still took years for SOS to catch on. For example, when the Titanic went down they signaled CQD, but when they didn’t receive any response, they mixed in SOS calls.

After I got to thinking about it, I decided that I really don't care if the old S.O.S. signal actually means anything or not. As long as folks hearing the signal understand that I am in trouble and need help, I'm good with it! Like they say...a rose by any other name, ya know?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. It's a tad chilly, but I have some apple cobbler, if that helps!

Monday, January 20, 2014

A "Jewel" Of A Monday Mystery...!

Once in a great while, we get a mystery that doesn't involve death, robbery, or bodily harm. At least, as far as we know!

Actually, this story is kinda cool, mainly because it's been around for a long time and is still unsolved. That's the kind of mystery we all like!

The Cheapside Hoard

On June 18, 1812, a group of laborers were demolishing a tenement building in the center of London. They were in for a surprise—a few feet below the brickwork, they found a huge collection of buried treasure. It included large amounts of jewelry crafted with gemstones from around the world, including rubies, sapphires, and emeralds. The pieces were intricate and varied—the emerald items alone included a carving of a parrot, bunches of grapes, a lizard, and a completely unique carving of a clock. In total there were 500 items, making the collection easily the most significant find of its type. Yet no one knows who it belonged to or why it was left there.

The hoard has been dated to the middle of the 17th century, perhaps during the English Civil War. At that time, the area was home to a number of jewelers and goldsmiths, and it’s entirely possible one of them buried the goods for safekeeping while he went off to fight, then never made it back. Shortly afterwards, the Great Fire of London came along and destroyed everything but the cellar.

The workers that found the items took them, still covered in mud and dirt, to a jewelry dealer known as Stony Jack. Jack had made it known to the laborers of London that he was more than happy to take a look at anything they dug up. He bought the pieces for a tidy sum and negotiated in secret to give them to the newly opened London Museum. The treasures continue to be shown today. The curators in charge of the collection hope that historians from around the world can help figure out where the gems came from and who was forced to leave them behind.

Jewels always make a mystery a little more interesting, I think. Something about them seems to fire up our imagination and allows us to create all sorts of back-stories to add to the true mystery. Many times, as we all know, the truth is way more interesting than the fiction!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. No mystery about how today is going to be a beautiful one!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday Slapstick...!

Well, I don't guess that the modern cartoons are really slapstick, but they will have to do! Besides, what is slapstick but fun?

Actually, this isn't a bad way to spend a Sunday morning in the Winter time, I reckon. Beats having to fight cabin fever, right? Right!

Guess that all the snow is just to remind us what time of the year it is! Glad I live in the south, let me tell ya!

First a taste of Winter, then a look ay Spring! How cool is that?

Ya know, seeing all that popcorn makes me hungry! Let's get some popcorn going on the stove, OK?

Guess we'll have our coffee out on the patio...with fresh popcorn, of course! The birds will love it!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

This Is A Scary Law...!

Some laws are just not right! Most laws are supposed to be for the protection of the general populace, but this one is just another example of the average citizen being taken to the cleaners by the PTB...again!

Why does it seem that we are constantly being inundated with new and old laws that strip us of both our rights and our property? Almost every day one or more of these laws come to light, and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight.

US Police Can Simply Seize Your Belongings
By J. Wisniewski on Friday, January 17, 2014

Regardless of whether or not you have committed a crime (or even been charged with one), in most parts of the United States, police officers may confiscate your belongings under a provision called civil forfeiture. “Probable cause” that your possessions may in some way be connected to perceived criminal activity is sufficient for seizure in most cases. In these cases, the burden of proof of innocence rests with the civilian.

You’re probably aware that if you get caught selling drugs or if the police pull you over trafficking coke across the US-Mexican border, the police can (and will) seize your assets (cash, car, cool hat, etc.). This is called criminal forfeiture and the idea is the police can help fund their crime-fighting by, well, fighting crime. The “catch” with criminal forfeiture is the confiscated property must have been used in the commission of the crime. Not exactly the steadiest stream of income.

So, let’s say you get pulled over for speeding or some other infraction and the citing officer detects a whiff of marijuana or suspects you of possession. A search reveals no contraband, but you do look suspicious. Can that police department take everything in the car and all your cash without arresting you or charging you with a crime? Yes, they certainly can (and do).

The laws which govern this civil forfeiture provide little recourse for property owners. The burden of proof is on the owner to prove any seized property was not connected in any way to any crime. As a result, civil forfeiture is a regular occurrence across much of the nation. And since police departments keep approximately 90 percent of the profits from seized property, the law in its current form effectively incentivizes abuse. Which might explain why in 85 percent of the NYPD’s forfeiture cases the property owner was never even charged with a crime.

So, why don’t property owners challenge these questionable seizures? The “civil” nature of the provision means the government is basically suing you for your stuff, and you need to prove your stuff is innocent. Cases like “The United States vs. One Pearl Necklace” are common. And since your possession is not a person, it has no constitutional rights and thus has no legal right to an attorney. So, if you want your iPod or 500 bucks back, you would need to hire an attorney yourself. And chances are any attorney with the skill to win your stuff back is going to charge legal fees which exceed the value of your confiscated possessions. You could represent yourself, but in most cases the governing law is an arcane beast over a century old which even most uninitiated lawyers and law students struggle to comprehend.

If it sounds like the deck is stacked against the defendant, it’s probably because it is. Civil forfeiture is a convenient, legal way for District Attorneys’ offices and police departments to fund their budgets. While cars and houses are frequently seized, most often the property value is just small enough it makes far more sense for the owner to forget about contesting the forfeiture. But all those small amounts add up, and as a result some states make millions of dollars annually from such forfeitures.

Imagine going to court against the unlimited (compared to your own) resources of the state and trying to prove your iPhone, or car, or even your house is innocent. It really sounds like something from which a citizen should be guaranteed protection.

Whether or not the PTB ever use these laws, the very fact that they exist bothers me. It bothers me a LOT! IMHO these laws should be removed from the books, or at the very least modified. To me it's just another fancy way to steal, and I don't like it!

It's coffee out on the patio again today. Cool enough for a jacket, but at least there's no rain!

Friday, January 17, 2014

How Greedy Is Big Business...?

There will come a time when big business is going to have to admit they need certain employees to be happy at work.

When you treat folks like slaves, it can come back and bite you in the butt, as this story clearly shows! You don't want your clever employees to become your primary competitor, do you? I think not!

The Scientist Who Got $10 For A World-Changing Invention
By Jeff Kelly on Thursday, January 16, 2014

H. Tracy Hall is probably not a name you’re familiar with, but he came up with one of the most important scientific advancements of the 20th century when he conceived of a way to actually create diamonds. A chemist who worked for General Electric, he and his colleagues somehow created a method that resulted in synthetic diamonds that were, by all accounts, exact duplicates of the real thing. The results led to billions for GE as they found numerous uses for his man made diamonds, so GE naturally rewarded him with a whopping $10 savings bond. Being a very intelligent man, he recognized this as a terrible insult, so he left the company and found another way to create synthetic diamonds for which he would hold the copyright.

If you’ve ever heard of H. Tracy Hall, you’re either a chemistry major or simply an aficionado of General Electric’s 1950s employee roster. But while you have likely never heard of Dr. Hall, he’s responsible for the low cost of many of your everyday devices.

That’s because in 1955, Hall and his colleagues came up with a way to create synthetic diamonds that were virtually identical in every conceivable way to the real thing. This technology has been used to supply the very diamonds that, for example are so frequently used in things like DVD players and computers and various other things that we take for granted in this day and age, including high-tech and life-saving medical equipment. The man-made diamonds that he helped pioneer in the 1950s led to billions upon billions of dollars not just for General Electric, but also for every other company that copied his life’s work for their own financial gain.

Surely, he must have made out like a bandit for this incredible discovery, right? After all, we’re talking about a chemist who made one of the greatest, albeit little known, discoveries of the 20th century. There’s no way he wasn’t rewarded handsomely and given every scientific prize on the planet, right? Unfortunately for Hall, that was not the case. Instead, his bosses at GE gave him a shiny $10 savings bond for this staggering scientific breakthrough that would literally change the course of technological advancement.

So why was he shortchanged? The folks at GE had just spent more than $125,000 on a fancy new machine that was put to use in its labs, and they gave virtually all of the credit to that machine and, by extension, the company itself over Hall, who had been working toward this discovery for years. They naturally ignored the fact that Hall had been able to duplicate his process without the use of their expensive equipment, because sometimes you apparently just have to justify spending that much money to your shareholders who might otherwise wonder why on Earth you needed to buy the machine in the first place when your lead chemist was able to duplicate the process on his own equipment.

Because getting a $10 savings bond and a little pat on the back wasn’t nearly the credit that Hall deserved, he left General Electric almost immediately after the whole fiasco and took a research job at Brigham Young University. However, his previous work had been patented by GE, so he actually came up with yet another way to create synthetic diamonds. Of course, that method was almost immediately deemed classified by the government, at least for a few months when they presumably realized he had been screwed over enough already and let him finish his research.

Ultimately, Hall helped found his own company that to this day remains one of the leading manufacturers of synthetic diamonds. He died in 2008, though we like to imagine it was in a giant, Scrooge McDuck-like vault filled with mounds upon mounds of synthetic, happily non-GE diamonds.

It would seem to me that this is a story that is probably repeated more than we will ever know. Big business has proven time and again that their first concern is profit, and the employees that helped to bring those profits around are treated very poorly indeed! Oh well, sometimes you reap what you sow! At least Mr. Hall was able to have some success in spite of the big wigs at G. E.

Coffee out on the patio again this morning!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Can You Hear Me Now...?

Sometimes we find that we don't have to spend extreamly high prices to have a better quality of life.

Here is a case where a company has begun making something that many of us need, but maybe not been able to afford...until now!

Bluetooth Hearing Aids

The ability to hear is a wonderful thing. Sadly, many people don’t have it. It is estimated that around 300 million people around the world suffer from some form of hearing impairment. In the United States alone, as much as 20 percent of the population report some degree of hearing loss. Although the condition is manageable through hearing aids, a lot of people simply can’t afford them. With the device costing up to US$4,000 a pair, spending money on hearing aids just wasn’t an option for many—until now.

Sound World Solutions, a Chicago based company, has created a prototype of hearing aids that use one of the most common technologies today—Bluetooth. It functions just as clearly as other hearing aids, but unlike conventional models, the Bluetooth hearing aids can be easily adjusted using your smartphone. The volume, treble, bass, and all the other sound options of the hearing aids can be attuned with a slide of a finger, eliminating the numerous visits needed to constantly readjust the device. The best part is that, at only US$300, more patients will now be able to afford the ability to hear.

I find it very comforting that some businesses out there are still trying to improve the quality of life for people, and are not placing the profit before the need.( Does that make sense the way I said it?) Anyway, I think this is a very good thing!

Let's have our coffee in the kitchen this morning. I have gingerbread in the oven, and I need to watch it!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sedition On Western Wednesday...!

While many of us don't think of the early 1900's as the Old West, some interesting things were going on in Montana that affected us all in the long run.

Passing any law such as the sedition act is a tricky thing. Very, very close to limiting the freedom of speech and other civil rights, and we all know here that leads, right? I find it interesting that this whole thing started in early Montana, don't you?

Feb 22, 1918:
Montana passes law against sedition

Swept along by hysterical fears of treacherous German spies and domestic labor violence, the Montana legislature passes a Sedition Law that severely restricts freedom of speech and assembly. Three months later, Congress adopted a federal Sedition Act modeled on the Montana law.

The roots of the Montana Sedition Law lay with the hyper-patriotic sentiments inspired by World War I and growing fears of labor unrest and violence in the state. A sizeable number of Montanans had resisted American entry in WWI, and the Montana congresswoman Jeanette Rankin (the first women elected to Congress) had voted against U.S. involvement in the Great War. Once the U.S. did become involved, though, many pro-war Montanans viewed any further criticism of the war effort as treasonous-especially if it came from the state's sizeable German-American population.

At the same time, the perceived need for wartime unity sharpened many Montanans' distrust of radical labor groups like the socialist International Workers of the World (IWW). The Montana mining town of Butte had been rocked by labor violence in recent years. In 1914, a group of men who may have been IWW members destroyed the offices of an opposing union with dynamite. An IWW leader named Frank Little had also recently given speeches in Butte condemning American involvement in the war, claiming it was being fought for big business interests.

Determined to silence both antiwar and radical union voices, the Montana legislature approved a Sedition Law that made it illegal to criticize the federal government or the armed forces during time of war. Even disparaging remarks about the American flag could be grounds for prosecution and imprisonment. Through the efforts of Montana's two senators, the act also became the model for the federal Sedition Law of May 1918. Like the Montana law, the federal act made it a crime to speak or write anything critical of the American war effort.

Later widely viewed as the most sweeping violation of civil liberties in modern American history, the federal Sedition Law led to the arrests of 1,500 American citizens. Crimes included denouncing the draft, criticizing the Red Cross, and complaining about wartime taxes. The Montana law led to the conviction and imprisonment of 47 people, some with prison terms of 20 years or more. Most were pardoned when the war ended and cooler heads prevailed, but the state and federal Sedition Laws proved highly effective in destroying the IWW and other radical labor groups that had long attacked the federal government as the tool of big business. Since many of these radicals were vocal opponents of much of the government wartime policy, they bore the brunt of the Sedition Law rebukes, and suffered sorely as a result.

I wonder what would happen in this day and age if another law was passed like the Federal Sedition Act? Oh wait...the PTB already did that, didn't they? Nice of them to change the name and all! I feel so much safer now!

Coffee out on the patio again. Sun is still showing it's face and that's fine with me!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Fruity Tuesday...!

We've talked before about the wonders of nature, but here is something I wanted to explore even more!

There are so many different types of edible fruits in the world that I have never tried, so I wanted to start going over just a few of them. Seems to me that if we could learn about some of these different fruits and grow them, we could pick up a lot more vitamins and needed nutriments...not to mention help in expanding our food supplies. The one I have here today was chosen mainly because it's so unusual looking, plus I've never heard about it!


Jabuticaba, or the Brazilian grape tree, is a very strange plant native to the South Eastern parts of Brazil. What makes this plant so strange is that it fruits from its trunk. No, I did not make that up, and no the picture has not been photo shopped. Initially, yellowish white flowers will appear all over the trunk and main branches, these flowers will then turn into fruit, about 3 – 4cm in diameter. Inside the thick purple skin is the soft gelatinous flesh of the fruit, along with 1 – 4 black seeds. The fruit is sweet and can be eaten as is or made into a wine or liqueur. Unfortunately, the fruit does not keep long when off the tree and will start to ferment after about 3 or 4 days.

I'm thinking of all the ways this fruit could come in handy! Eaten raw, in jelly and jams, even making some fermented beverage. Lots of ways of getting some needed vitamins into our systems, don't you think? If you want to see some other strange (to this area) fruits, here's the link to the article from Listverse!

We can have our coffee out on the patio this morning. Expecting more sunshine and that's a good thing!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Cryptic Notes On Monday Mystery...!

This story from Listverse is mysterious in more ways than one, if you ask me.

I mean, I have to ask just why the FBI was even working on this man's death? Was it at the family's request? Why, after all this time, was it determined that his passing needed to be explored again? Whole lot of questions, if you ask me!

Ricky McCormick Notes

On 30 June, 1999, 41 year old Ricky McCormick’s body was discovered in a field in St. Charles County, Missouri. An unemployed high school dropout, McCormick was said to have heart and lung problems, lived on and off with his mother, and was receiving disability at the time of his death. He had served time in jail for multiple offenses. His body was found several miles from where he lived, and there was no indication of foul-play, nor was any cause of death ever established.

Found inside his pockets were two hand written notes that appeared to be encrypted. Were the encrypted notes clues to his death? The FBI’s Cryptanalysis and Racketeering Records Unit (CRRU) and the American Cryptogram Association both tried, and failed, to decipher the meanings of the notes. The notes and the death of Ricky McCormick are listed as one of the CRRU’s top unsolved cases.

Twelve years later, the FBI had changed its mind and now believed McCormick may have been murdered. They also believed whatever was written on the notes might explain his death and lead to the killer, or killers. On 29 March, 2011, the FBI asked the code-breakers of the world to help determine the meaning of the coded messages. Within days of posting the messages on the Internet, the FBI website was inundated with messages from the public offering ideas, suggestions and assistance. According to members of McCormick’s family, McCormick had used encrypted notes since he was a boy, but apparently no one in his family ever knew how to decipher the codes. Now it is up to the public to try to help the FBI decode these notes.

I'm thinking there must be more to this story somewhere. I just do not see what the encrypted notes found on a dead man would suddenly, after 12 years, capture the interest of the FBI and their team of experts. Why is this unexplained death so important after all this time? What do you think?

Coffee outside this morning. Light rain is expected, but the temps are warm!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Cartoons For A Warm Sunday...!

I don't want to rub it in, but the high today is headed to 72! Not bad January weather, I'd say!

To make up for the fact that so many of my favorite readers are still feeling the blast from old man Winter, I have a few 'toons I hope will take the edge off the cold! So snuggle up, throw another log on the fire, and enjoy...

Ya know, this warmer weather has me thinking about gardening again. I don't know what that has to do with anything, but it does!

Ol' Bugs has been around for long, long time! Probably known the world over! Not bad for a cartoon character, huh?

I figure we should have just one more, don't you? Yeah...why not?

Well, That's all for now, I reckon. Hope it helps to chase away some of the chill!

Coffee out on the patio this morning again. Hope you don't mind!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Watch Out, Bigfoot...!

Did you hear about the hunter that says he shot Bigfoot? In Texas that's legal!

With all the rules and regulations we face now days, this kinda surprised me! I found an article that explains it all right here!

It’s Completely Legal To Kill Bigfoot In Texas
By Nolan Moore on Friday, January 10, 2014

Bigfoot is one of the most famous monsters in the world, but if he exists, he better stay out of the Lone Star State. According to the Texas Park and Wildlife Department, it’s perfectly legal to kill the rare cryptid, if you can find him of course. However, California and Washington are a little more Bigfoot-friendly and have set up laws to protect this mysterious creature.

Bigfoot is North America’s most legendary cryptid and has appeared in books, movies, TV shows, and now possibly Rick Dyer’s freezer. If you’ve been paying attention to the “news” recently, you may have noticed this Texas hunter, who says he bagged the creature outside of San Antonio. He now plans to take the body on a road trip across North America, charging people for a glimpse of the mythical beast. While chances are pretty good that Dyer’s story is a hoax, if he actually did kill the mysterious monster, he’s totally within his legal rights.

According to the Texas Park and Wildlife Department (TPWD), hunters can shoot as many Sasquatches as they want, assuming they can find any. Of course, Bigfoot isn’t specifically mentioned in any state laws, and that concerned John Lloyd Sharf of Oregon. He sent the TPWD an email asking if the creatures receive any kind of protection, and he got a prompt response from Lieutenant David Sinclair, Chief of Staff of the TPWD. According to Lt. Sinclair, Bigfoot isn’t listed as “an indigenous, nongame species” so it’s not protected by Texas law which means you can kill as many as you want. Of course, the rule was written for less-elusive creatures like bobcats, coyotes, and cotton-tailed rabbits, but technically speaking, it applies to Bigfoot, too.

While Texas isn’t exactly Bigfoot-friendly, California might be a safe-haven for the fabled, furry ape. According to the California Department of Fish and Game, if Bigfoot exists naturally in California, then it’s a non-game mammal protected by law. However, California isn’t the only place with pro-cryptid laws. In 1992, Whatcom County, Washington declared itself a Bigfoot refuge area, and Skamania County made it illegal to hunt the hairy humanoids all the way back in 1969. That’s great news for the 29 percent of Americans who actually believe in Bigfoot and even better news for the creatures themselves . . . assuming they’re even real.

I have to say that, legal or not, if a Bigfoot showed up at my camp site unannounced...he's more than likely gonna get shot! Sorry, but that's just the way I roll!

Coffee out on the patio this morning! Sunshine is on the way and the temps are rising!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Time For Some Friday Fun Facts...!

As most folks know, I'm a sucker for trivia! Any kind of trivia!

Knowing me as she does, my friend in New Zealand sent me a few facts, some of which I did not know! Of course, the first thing I wanted to do is to share them with you, being the nice guy that I am! (Besides, I needed something to post!)


It takes glass one million years to decompose, which means it never wears out and can be recycled an infinite amount of times!

Gold is the only metal that doesn't rust, even if it's buried in the ground for thousands of years.

Your tongue is the only muscle in your body that is attached at only one end.

If you stop getting thirsty, you need to drink more water. When a human body is dehydrated, its thirst mechanism shuts off.

Each year 2,000,000 smokers either quit smoking or die of tobacco-related diseases.

Zero is the only number that cannot be represented by Roman numerals

Kites were used in the American Civil War to deliver letters and newspapers.

The song, Auld Lang Syne, is sung at the stroke of midnight in almost every English-speaking country in the world to bring in the new year.

Drinking water after eating reduces the acid in your mouth by 61 percent.

Peanut oil is used for cooking in submarines because it doesn't smoke unless it's heated above 450F.

The roar that we hear when we place a seashell next to our ear is not the ocean, but rather the sound of blood surging through the veins in the ear.

Nine out of every 10 living things live in the ocean.

The banana cannot reproduce itself. It can be propagated only by the hand of man.

Airports at higher altitudes require a longer airstrip due to lower air density.

The University of Alaska spans four time zones.

The tooth is the only part of the human body that cannot heal itself.

In ancient Greece, tossing an apple to a girl was a traditional proposal of marriage. Catching it meant she accepted.

Warner Communications paid $28 million for the copyright to the song Happy Birthday.

Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.

A comet's tail always points away from the sun

The Swine Flu vaccine in 1976 caused more death and illness than the disease it was intended to prevent.

Caffeine increases the power of aspirin and other painkillers, that is why it is found in some medicines.

The military salute is a motion that evolved from medieval times, when knights in armor raised their visors to reveal their identity.

If you get into the bottom of a well or a tall chimney and look up, you can see stars, even in the middle of the day.

When a person dies, hearing is the last sense to go. The first sense lost is sight.

In ancient times strangers shook hands to show that they were unarmed.

Avocados have the highest calories of any fruit at 167 calories per hundred grams.

The moon moves about two inches away from the Earth each year.

The Earth gets 100 tons heavier every day due to falling space dust.

Due to earth's gravity it is impossible for mountains to be higher than 15,000 meters.

Mickey Mouse is known as "Topolino" in Italy.

Everything weighs one percent less at the equator.

For every extra kilogram carried on a space flight, 530 kg of excess fuel are needed at lift-off.

The letter J does not appear anywhere on the periodic table of the elements.

If you are dazzled by all this unnecessary information, you can thank my friend, Minerva, from New Zealand! I just figured you might find it interesting!

Coffee outside this morning. Supposed to hit 70 today, and that's fine with me!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Crazy Is As Crazy Does...!

I'll never understand why folks like this think the way they do! Crazy is the only sane answer, I reckon!

If there was ever any doubt that there are a LOT of crazy folks running loose out on the streets, this story should remove all the doubt completely!

The Smiley Face Bomber

Lucas Helder is a terrorist who managed to combine an insane motive with an equally insane plot to create one of the strangest news stories of the decade. Helder was a polite college student into politics, pot, and new age theories. He also planted 18 pipe bombs seemingly at random across the Midwest in the spring of 2002, badly injuring six people.

His exact motives remain unclear, though letters he left at the crime scenes suggest they included bringing down the government, proving ghosts exist, and teaching people about astral projection. But before any of goals lay a more direct aim for his plot. According to the Helder himself, his intention was to coordinate the bombings so that when plotted on a map they would resemble a gigantic smiley face.

That was his master plan—to scorch a smile across the Midwest in fire. Some reports state he did this so people would know not to be frightened of him, others to show he had the best intentions, and yet others because he’s just plain nuts. Since he was declared mentally ill and unfit to stand trial, it’s likely that we’ll never really understand his reasoning.

What worries me the most about folks like this is how they seem to be almost invisible to the rest of us. How do we not spot the signs that something is very wrong with them? Surely someone somewhere noticed something, ya think? I know that I am going to start watching my neighbors a bit closer from now on!

Needless to say, we'll have our coffee in the kitchen again today.Just to cold to sit outside just yet!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Lone Ranger On Western Wednesday...!

Boy, did I have some flashbacks doing this post!

The Lone Ranger was just one of the shows we used to watch to on television. I even heard some of his shows on the radio at one point, but I'm not sure when! Many of the shows on the radio were favorites and very entertaining before we got our first television set! Boy, I spent many fun times with that 10 inch screen!

Jan 30, 1933:
The Lone Ranger debuts on Detroit radio

With the stirring notes of the William Tell Overture and a shout of "Hi-yo, Silver! Away!" The Lone Ranger debuts on Detroit's WXYZ radio station.

The creation of station-owner George Trendle and writer Fran Striker, the "masked rider of the plains" became one of the most popular and enduring western heroes of the 20th century. Joined by his trusty steed, Silver, and loyal Indian scout, Tonto, the Lone Ranger sallied forth to do battle with evil western outlaws and Indians, generally arriving on the scene just in time to save an innocent golden-haired child or sun-bonneted farm wife.

Neither Trendle nor Striker had any connections to or experience with the cowboys, Indians, and pioneers of the real West, but that mattered little to them. The men simply wanted to create an American version of the masked swashbuckler made popular by the silent movie actor Douglas Fairbanks in The Mark of Zorro, arming their hero with a revolver rather than a sword. Historical authenticity was far less important to the men than fidelity to the strict code of conduct they established for their character. The Lone Ranger never smoked, swore, or drank alcohol; he used grammatically correct speech free of slang; and, most important, he never shot to kill. More offensive to modern historical and ethnic sensibilities was the Indian scout Tonto, who spoke in a comical Indian patois totally unrelated to any authentic Indian dialect, uttering ludicrous phrases like "You betchum!"

Historical accuracy notwithstanding, the radio program was an instant hit. Children liked the steady stream of action and parents approved of the good moral example offered by the upstanding masked man. Soon picked up for nationwide broadcast over the Mutual Radio Network, over 20 million Americans were tuning into The Lone Ranger three times a week by 1939. In an early example of the power of marketing tie-ins, the producers also licensed the manufacture of a vast array of related products, including Lone Ranger guns, costumes, books, and a popular comic strip.

The Lone Ranger made a seemingly effortless transition from radio to motion pictures and television. The televised version of The Lone Ranger, staring Clayton Moore as the masked man, became ABC's first big hit in the early 1950s. Remaining on the air until 1957, the program helped define the golden age of the TV Western and inspired dozens of imitators like The Range Rider, The Roy Rogers Show, and The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok. Although the Lone Ranger disappeared from American television and movie screens by the 1960s, he lived on in a popular series of comic books well into the 1970s.

My sisters and I were very fortunate that Mom and Dad introduced us to good programs on the radio and television, encouraged us to read good books, and topped it off with a wide selection of outstanding music (mostly radio and records) as well! I'd say that we had a well rounded childhood! In fact, I think I might just go back and do it my mind, of course!

Coffee in the kitchen again! How about some home made brownies?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

What The Heck Is This Critter...?

Now, I've seen some pretty unusual looking animals in my like, but nothing like this!

Seems like I'm not the only one, though. Whatever it is, I don't want to run into it at night! Heck, I don't want to run into it even in the daylight!

The Taxidermied Canid No One Can Identify
By Joshua T. Garcia on Friday, January 3, 2014

In 1886, a mysterious creature was on the loose in Madison Valley, Montana. Mormon settler Israel A. Hutchins shot and killed the animal the second time it roamed onto his ranch. He then sold it to local taxidermist Joseph Sherwood, who stuffed it, dubbed it the “ringdocus,” and put it on display. Over a century later, it has yet to be identified.

One morning in 1886, Israel Ammon Hutchins awoke to find a mystery beast loose on his land.

Hutchins had moved to Madison Valley, Montana, for the same reason many Americans were settling west: fertile, cheap land provided more opportunity for his family than did anything back East. But Hutchins probably didn’t expect to run into an unknown predator—a ferocious-looking animal that seemed to be part wolf, part hyena.

The first time Hutchins spotted the creature—which was running after his cows—he took a shot at it and missed, accidentally killing one of his own cows. The second time it wandered onto his property, his shot found its mark: The creature was fatally wounded, though it exerted the remainder of its strength attempting to reach and harm the Hutchins family.

During the month between the creature’s visits to the Hutchins ranch, it had terrorized the livestock of Madison Valley, preying upon cows and sheep. Its bloodcurdling cries kept residents fearful. Hutchins traded the beast’s body to local taxidermist Joseph Sherwood for a new cow. Sherwood mounted the animal—which he named “ringdocus”—and displayed it in his shop across the Idaho border.

The ringdocus was popularized by Hutchins’ grandson, naturalist Ross Hutchins, who mentioned it in his autobiography. Cryptozoologists Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark later linked the ringdocus to the shunka warak’in, a creature from Native American folklore in Cryptozoology A to Z. The mount went missing in the 1980s. Jack Kirby, also a grandson of Hutchins, made a mission of finding it. He tracked it to the Idaho Museum of Natural History in 2007, which then allowed the ringdocus to be displayed at the Madison Valley History Museum.

The ringdocus has never been scientifically identified. It’s unknown why the animal has yet to receive DNA testing or an X-ray analysis—the Madison Valley History Museum may lack the proper rights to authorize such inquiries, as the Idaho Museum of Natural History is still allegedly the owner. It’s also possible that a formal identification could ruin its quality as a museum exhibit.

There are sure a lot of strange and curious critters out there! Probably a lot I don't want to get that close to, I reckon!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning! They are calling for 21 degrees here at the patio and that's too chilly to be outside!

Monday, January 6, 2014

A Spy For Monday Mystery...!

Here is a good spy story for Monday Mystery and it's not even that old!

One thing about a good spy yarn, you don't really know who is the bad guy and who is the good guy! That is, if there is such a thing as a good guy when it comes to spies!

Sergei Tretyakov

Sergei Tretyakov was a Russian spy who defected to the United States in October 2000. During his time in Russia, Tretyakov was a colonel in the Russian intelligence service (S.V.R.) and oversaw covert operations in New York City and at the United Nations. Starting in 1997, Tretyakov became a double agent and passed secrets to the Americans. After moving to the United States, he was given a package worth $2 million and placed in the Witness Protection Program. In 2008, Tretyakov provided information about the SVR. He said that the Russian intelligence program is just as active today as ever. Tretyakov warned that the world should “wake up” to the danger.

He told NPR that his “defection was a major failure of the Russian intelligence.” Some of his revelations include the suggestion that Eldar Kouliev was an SVR spy. He said that U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, Strobe Talbott, was influenced by Russia, along with Canadian Alex Kindy. According to Tretyakov, the KGB fabricated the nuclear winter story to stop the development of the Pershing missiles in Europe. He said that the SVR developed a list of influential political figures that were assassinated in order to bring Vladimir Putin to power. He also recounted a conversation in which a man (Vladimir K. Dmitriev) discussed privately owned nuclear weapons.

Sergei Tretyakov also exposed the Russian warfare program known as Active Measures. The program uses misinformation, propaganda, hoaxes, and political persecution to influence world events. Active Measures has been called the “heart and soul of Soviet intelligence,” and is being used to discredit the United States. Some have speculated that Russia orchestrated the Edward Snowden media leak in order to create anger in the United States and Europe, specifically Germany. On June 13, 2010, Sergei Tretyakov died at his house in the United States. The medical examiner reported that he suffocated after choking on a piece of meat. However, rumors persist that he was assassinated by the SVR.

Seems to me that we have had our share of snitches, spies, and shady guysin the last couple of years. I reckon that is one business that never has a slow down, but has been known to do some drastic "down-sizing" from time to time!

Better have coffee in the kitchen this morning. Temps in the 20's make it nasty out on the patio!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Bring Potato Chips...!

I have a little departure from our regular routine today...something you might enjoy!

This is something that maybe we all should pay attention to!

Potato Chips

A little boy wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with a bag of potato chips and a six-pack of root beer and started his journey.

When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old man. He was sitting in the park, just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to him and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old man looked hungry, so he offered him some chips. He gratefully accepted it and smiled at him.

His smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered him a root beer. Again, he smiled at him. The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word..

As twilight approached, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave; but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old man, and gave him a hug. He gave him his biggest smile ever..

When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, "What did you do today that made you so happy?" He replied, "I had lunch with God." But before his mother could respond, he added, "You know what? He's got the most beautiful smile I've ever seen!"

Meanwhile, the old man, also radiant with joy, returned to his home. His son was stunned by the look of peace on his face and he asked, "dad, what did you do today that made you so happy?"

He replied "I ate potato chips in the park with God." However, before his son responded, he added, "You know, he's much younger than I expected."

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime! Embrace all equally!

Have lunch with God.......bring chips.

We should all try and remember that our actions can certainly speak more clearly than all the words we can string together! A smile, a hug, or little silent sharing can speak volumes and may fill the void in someone's heart!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Last chance for fresh air until after the approaching Winter storm!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Building Up Some Good Karma Points...!

Sometimes I tend to forget that there are actually folks in this world that are more concerned with others than themselves.

Inspiration can come to us from the most unlikely places and people at times. When I read an article like this, I'm put to shame about how little I do compared to these good people. No matter how little they have, they give it to those they feel are more needy! The word that comes to mind right off the bat is "HERO!"

The Living Bulgarian Saint

Dobri Dobrev is well-known to many people in his native homeland of Sofia, Bulgaria, where he has been regularly begging on the streets for decades. What many do not know however, is that Dobrev doesn’t keep a single cent from the proceeds. Instead, he uses the money to fix various churches and monasteries and pay for the upkeep of orphanages.

So far, he has donated over $52,000 while living on a measly pension of about $100 a month. Dobrev, who is nearly 100 years old and lost his hearing in World War II, discusses his mission in this local television interview.

It's hard to see someone like this old man doing something like this and realize how much more I could do. I guess that my heart isn't as humble as this old and wonderful man! God bless him!

Coffee in the kitchen again this morning. Anyone care for a bear claw?

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Story Of The Sloop Peggy...!

We haven't had a story from the sea for a while, so today is the day!

While this story is both sad and happy, I'll be willing to bet that there were many similar stories we never heard! After all, the sea can keep many secrets, right?

The Crew Of The Peggy

American sloop The Peggy was returning to New York in 1765 after trading in the Azores. For almost the entire month of November, The Peggy struggled to cross the Atlantic as one storm after another pounded the ship. The mast, sails, and rigging were all damaged. The ship was adrift and it’s hull was leaking badly. What few provisions survived the storms were quickly exhausted as the crew worked desperately to keep The Peggy afloat. It was obvious the men of The Peggy would starve long before reaching land, even after the ship’s cat was killed and eaten. Their only hope was the unlikely chance another ship might pass nearby.

Initial talk of cannibalism among the crew was shut down by the captain, David Harrison, but it was futile. By mid-January, the crew had eaten all the leather and candles aboard the ship, and with Captain Harrison bedridden, the crew resorted to cannibalism. The customary lottery was mere pretense—it seems the crew had already decided Harrison’s black manservant should be the one to make the ultimate “sacrifice.”

At the end of January, the body of the servant was gone and the captain clung to life on a mixture of water and rum rather than take part in the cannibalistic proceedings. A second lottery was conducted, but the victim, David Flatt, was granted a night’s reprieve to pray thanks to the pleas of a haggard Captain Harrison. Miraculously, a London-bound ship brought salvation to all aboard The Peggy—including Flatt—the next morning. The crew of The Peggy had been preparing a fire to cook the next victim when the captain of The Susan provided the starving sailors with food, tackle, and escort to London.

Guess that working as a sailor wasn't always good for your health! Probably didn't pay very well either. Certainly not enough to chance being on the menu!

Once more we'll have our coffee in the kitchen. Flat out cold this morning, ya know?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Here Kitty, Kitty...!

Did you know that cats can good for your health? I didn't either!

Tricky little buggers that they are, cats have a way of getting under your skin when they want something. Believe me, having 5 of them I know what I'm talking about! Besides, this article from KnowledgeNuts backs me up!

Cats Don’t Just Purr When They’re Happy
By Debra Kelly on Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Most people associate a purring cat with one comfortably curled up on the lap of someone who’s petting her. But cats will also purr when they’re scared or in pain, bringing up the question of why the same sound is made in such opposite circumstances. The answer might lie in the frequency of the cat’s purr, and the comforting, healing ability associated with it. The frequency of a cat’s purr is the same frequency that heals broken bones and muscles, making it likely that cats have an ulterior motive in their purring, too.

Cats can purr because they have amazing control over the muscles in their larynx. When their laryngeal muscles twitch, this pulls their very stiff vocal cords apart and causes the sound of purring as they breathe in and out. Most of us are familiar with the happy, content cat purring away on someone’s lap, but cats also purr when they’re scared, upset, or injured. Cats will often purr when they’re in a stressful situation like waiting in the vet’s office, or when confronted with a scary new creature.

So why do they make the same sound in completely opposite situations?

While no cats are telling, scientists have made some educated guesses—and it starts with what’s hidden inside the sound of a cat’s purr.

Since the purr is generated by the cat’s breathing, it’s a sound with a regular rhythm. It also has a frequency that’s somewhere between 25 and 150 Hertz. Scientists don’t think that’s a coincidence.

That’s the same frequency that has been found to encourage healing in bones and muscles, and it might explain why injured cats purr—they’re helping their own body to heal. And as an added bonus, since the purring sound is generated by their own breath, it’s a very low-energy form of therapy. And oddly enough, it’s not just beneficial for the cat. The University of Minnesota Stroke Center has found that people who own a cat or two are as much as 40 percent less likely to have a stroke; it’s thought that the calming effects of having a cat around, coupled with the healing properties of the purr, might have something to do with that.

Not all cats can purr; those that can roar can’t purr (due to the different structure of their vocal cords). But a variety of cats can purr, not just your domestic housecat. Cheetahs, ocelots, and other “small” big cats can also purr, and recordings of their sounds have shown that they have the same frequency. This gives credence to the theory that they’re not just purring for you.

So why do they purr when they’re happy?

This is where they turn into the manipulative little creatures they have a reputation for being. Researchers at the University of Sussex have gone a bit farther in examining just what the sound of a purr is, and they’ve found something surprising. Inside the 25–150 Hertz range of the purr is another sound—namely, a hidden cry that registers between 220 and 520 Hertz.

As a comparison, that’s a frequency very similar to the cries of a human baby.

Purring is an important part of cat communication from the time they’re kittens, purring at their mother for attention. And they might be doing the same to you, hiding a rather annoying plea for attention and more petting deep inside the sound of their more pleasant, calming, and therapeutic purr. It makes them extremely hard to ignore, and pretty much guarantees that you’ll keep doing whatever you’re doing to make them happy.

Some cats have been known to purr when they want to be fed as well. This secret purr might be the reason they’re so hard to ignore when they wake you up in the morning for their breakfast.

Any pet owner will tell you that most animals have a way of communicating with their caregivers. Doesn't really matter if it's a dog or a cat, they communicate with us all the same! Haven't you ever been talking to your pet and suddenly realize that they are watching you as though they understand exactly what you are talking about? You have, haven't you!

Coffee in the kitchen again this morning. How about some nice pumpkin pie?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

First Western Wednesday Of 2014...!

I just want to say "Thank You" to everyone that stopped by for a visit during the past year! I truly appreciate it!

Today I wanted to talk a bit about one of the fathers of the modern firearms, John Moses Browning! Starting at a very young age, Browning was a true genius in firearms design and much of what he started has not been improved on to any noticeable degree.

Jan 21, 1855:
Gun designer John Browning is born

John Moses Browning, sometimes referred to as the "father of modern firearms," is born in Ogden, Utah. Many of the guns manufactured by companies whose names evoke the history of the American West-Winchester, Colt, Remington, and Savage-were actually based on John Browning's designs.

The son of a talented gunsmith, John Browning began experimenting with his own gun designs as a young man. When he was 24 years old, he received his first patent, for a rifle that Winchester manufactured as its Single Shot Model 1885. Impressed by the young man's inventiveness, Winchester asked Browning if he could design a lever-action-repeating shotgun. Browning could and did, but his efforts convinced him that a pump-action mechanism would work better, and he patented his first pump model shotgun in 1888.

Fundamentally, all of Browning's manually-operated repeating rifle and shotgun designs were aimed at improving one thing: the speed and reliability with which gun users could fire multiple rounds-whether shooting at game birds or other people. Lever and pump actions allowed the operator to fire a round, operate the lever or pump to quickly eject the spent shell, insert a new cartridge, and then fire again in seconds.

By the late 1880s, Browning had perfected the manual repeating weapon; to make guns that fired any faster, he would somehow have to eliminate the need for slow human beings to actually work the mechanisms. But what force could replace that of the operator moving a lever or pump? Browning discovered the answer during a local shooting competition when he noticed that reeds between a man firing and his target were violently blown aside by gases escaping from the gun muzzle. He decided to try using the force of that escaping gas to automatically work the repeating mechanism.

Browning began experimenting with his idea in 1889. Three years later, he received a patent for the first crude fully automatic weapon that captured the gases at the muzzle and used them to power a mechanism that automatically reloaded the next bullet. In subsequent years, Browning refined his automatic weapon design. When U.S. soldiers went to Europe during WWI, many of them carried Browning Automatic Rifles, as well as Browning's deadly machine guns.

During a career spanning more than five decades, Browning's guns went from being the classic weapons of the American West to deadly tools of world war carnage. Amazingly, since Browning's death in 1926, there have been no further fundamental changes in the modern firearm industry.

BTW, this information comes to us from the folks over at source of historical stories about all types of happenings!

If it's all the same to you, I'd like to have coffee in the kitchen this morning! Much warmer in there, ya know?

Happy New Year, Everyone!